I wrote this on July 3, 2003, the summer prior to starting UCLA. I was seventeen.
I’m losing paradise. As each day passes I’m one step closer to becoming a full-time college student. While the independence associated with entering a university is an exciting experience, the joys of childhood are left behind.
Despite the occasional order to clean my room or wash the dishes, my past seventeen years have seemed utopian. In an age of high divorce rates, domestic violence, and besieged family values, my parents carefully nurtured their children’s developing character. Accomplishments come easily swinging high above a secure parental safety net. As a child, the “menial” chores, cooking or laundry, seemed beneath my aspirations but perfectly suited to my parent’s indolent life. In my mind, high school was just as “tough” as my Dad’s work; perhaps he could work forever while I remained a child. Surprisingly, adulthood means shouldering menial chores that my parents have outgrown. So its “goodbye” to the safety net and “hello” university life, twenty page papers and cleaning my closet-sized dorm room.
With these newfound fears of independence, one quote by Abraham Lincoln relieves my mind: “ The worst thing you can do for those you love is the things they could and should do for themselves.” Lincoln was right; my university independence is best served if my parents are freed from the slavish devotion to my meals and laundry and allowed to relax with their own “menial” tasks.